This is the News In Brief from the United Nations.
Six children among 53 confirmed fatalities after airstrikes at Libyan detention centre
The toll from Tuesday’s reported airstrikes on a detention centre in Tripoli has risen to 53 dead and more than 130 injured migrants and refugees, UN aid agencies said on Friday.
According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) six children were among the fatalities at the Tajoura site, where the more than 600 detainees came from at least 17 mainly African States.
The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, meanwhile, noted that both parties involved in the fight for Tripoli - the UN-recognised Government and forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar – knew where civilians were sheltering.
Here’s Spokesperson Charlie Yaxley, speaking in Geneva:
“We reiterate once again that the coordinates of these detention centres in Tripoli are well-known to both sides of the conflict and this was a preventable tragedy that never should have happened…Our colleagues spoke to some of the refugees who are severely traumatized by this week’s events. They’ve spoken in a state of shock, they’ve spoken to us about having seen their fellow detainees’ body parts dismembered around the centre.”
Highlighting the dangers faced by those being held in Libya, Mr. Yaxley cited concerns that some detention centres are being used to store weapons and military equipment.
Using civilian infrastructure in that way would be a violation of international humanitarian law and must be avoided at all costs, the UNHCR official said.
According to IOM and UNHCR, 3,300 migrants and refugees remain arbitrarily detained inside and around Tripoli.
Latest Mediterranean drowning claims dozens of lives
Staying with Libya, the UN Migration Agency also reported on Friday that more than 80 migrants are feared drowned after their vessel capsized while trying to reach Europe from the Libyan port of Zwara earlier this week.
IOM spokesperson Joel Millman said that one of four male survivors suffering from hypothermia - a 29-year-old national from Cote d’Ivoire – has since died.
“The survivors told IOM staff that the inflatable boat carrying 86 people including four women and two children, left Zwara around 6am on 1 July. A few hours later, the boat began to leak and capsized due to the confusion and frantic movements of dozens of people on board.”
So far this year, the UN migration agency has reported 426 deaths from drowning linked to attempts to cross the central Mediterranean route to Europe.
In May, two rescues were carried out on two overloaded crafts that left Libya, which continues to be used by traffickers.
On one vessel, 59 people went missing and 16 were rescued, IOM said. And on the second, 69 were saved.
Monsoon rains destroy shelters and food stocks in Bangladesh’s Rohingya camps
Three days of rain and more than two dozen landslides in Bangladesh have wrecked 273 shelters and damaged food stocks in refugee camps that are home to 900,000 Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar.
According to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, 350 millimetres of rain fell in 72 hours at the start of the week and more downpours are expected next week, with four months of the monsoon season to go.
According to the World Food Programme, WFP, 80 per cent of refugees are entirely dependent on food assistance.
It has 65 metric tons of high energy biscuits pre-positioned in high areas around the camps which can feed more than 160,000 people in an emergency.
In the meantime, the agency has announced that it will continue planting trees across 80 hectares of land in the camps, to help stabilize the land and reduce the risk of a landslide.
Disaster risk reduction measures are ongoing in 545 sites, consisting of bridge and access road repairs, slope stabilization and drain clearance.
Venezuela needs 'time and space' to implement reforms, says UN’s Bachelet
To the Human Rights Council in Geneva finally, where UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet has said she’s “hopeful” that the Venezuelan Government may be ready to engage with her Office to address widespread and serious alleged violations.
Talking to reporters on the sidelines of the meeting, Ms. Bachelet welcomed the recent release of more than 80 detainees, and the fact that the authorities have agreed to allow two human rights officers to work in the country.
“There has never been a presence in the country. It was only through the regional office, but for many years… we didn’t have any access at all. So now we’re in a completely different situation, we have two colleagues there, permanently, working, monitoring, relating with civil society, et cetera, so we believe we need to give them some time and some space to this new reality.”
At the same time, Ms. Bachelet also cited “excessive and lethal force” used against anti-Government protesters.
And in line with a report by her Office, Ms. Bachelet maintained that torture is also a major problem in Venezuela, as shown by “the inexcusable and tragic death” in custody earlier this week of former navy Captain Rafael Acosta Arevalo.
Earlier, in response to the High Commissioner’s comments, the Venezuelan representative dismissed her Office’s report, calling its contents “incomprehensible”, lacking in “scientific rigour” and omitting to mention the “immoral blockade” facing the country.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.